Between Dasklip Pass and the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area are farms. Once were fruit, but now they have swung over to fynbos. From picked in the wild, to plantations of new cultivars.
Proteas get their name from the god, who was able to change shape. There are the well known flowers – King proteas. Leucospermum pincushions. Lime green or burgundy Leucadendron ... And many more.
I found fire photos taken on Berghoff protea farm. First lightning struck – we travelled thru that all the way from Swellendam, fire by fire. Then the second fire on the pass, was due to Eskom power lines shorting. There, you can also see the devastation left by pine plantations, which blaze like torches. And the fruit orchard next to it, still green, despite the fire.
I went down to show you how the individual flowers are packed in plastic mesh bags. Florists and their customers, require flowers that are perfect, unmarked by nature. Curiously plastic and artificial to look at. Years ago, to protect the flowers from birds – a tall stick painted yellow was placed in each protea bush. Coated with bird poison, it killed the sugarbirds. We have, thankfully, moved on.
This protea farm is sustainable, but I have to remind myself, that doesn’t equal organic. We did see them spraying. I suppose to prevent beetles chewing on the merchandise and making it unsaleable.
Cameras are dangerous. I stepped back to frame a wider view. And went down, bravely defending the camera. Skinned my elbow and still have the technicoloured fist of Berghoff emblazoned on my hip.
Berghoff is a New South African good news story. Mountain Dew is the associated black empowerment protea farm. – ‘Two Western Cape workers from the cut flower industry’ - will be accompanying the flowers to Chelsea. ‘Edwin Gouws is a trustee of the Mountain Dew empowerment farm, and Dorah Siduka is a production supervisor at Fynsa, a flower packing shed’. Fynsa supplies our Pick n Pay and England’s Marks & Spencer. ‘United Nations Development Programme last year found that full-time employment has doubled under the sustainable harvesting programme, and payments to flower pickers increased six-fold’.
Our third stop will be the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area.
words by Diana of Elephant's Eye
- wildlife gardening in Porterville,
near Cape Town in South Africa
(If you mouse over brown text, it turns shriek pink.
Those are my links)